bdnf - brain derived neurotrophic factor
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Publication
Journal: Nature genetics
November/15/2010
Abstract
Obesity is globally prevalent and highly heritable, but its underlying genetic factors remain largely elusive. To identify genetic loci for obesity susceptibility, we examined associations between body mass index and ∼ 2.8 million SNPs in up to 123,865 individuals with targeted follow up of 42 SNPs in up to 125,931 additional individuals. We confirmed 14 known obesity susceptibility loci and identified 18 new loci associated with body mass index (P < 5 × 10⁻⁸), one of which includes a copy number variant near GPRC5B. Some loci (at MC4R, POMC, SH2B1 and BDNF) map near key hypothalamic regulators of energy balance, and one of these loci is near GIPR, an incretin receptor. Furthermore, genes in other newly associated loci may provide new insights into human body weight regulation.
Publication
Journal: Cell
February/13/2003
Abstract
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) modulates hippocampal plasticity and hippocampal-dependent memory in cell models and in animals. We examined the effects of a valine (val) to methionine (met) substitution in the 5' pro-region of the human BDNF protein. In human subjects, the met allele was associated with poorer episodic memory, abnormal hippocampal activation assayed with fMRI, and lower hippocampal n-acetyl aspartate (NAA), assayed with MRI spectroscopy. Neurons transfected with met-BDNF-GFP showed lower depolarization-induced secretion, while constitutive secretion was unchanged. Furthermore, met-BDNF-GFP failed to localize to secretory granules or synapses. These results demonstrate a role for BDNF and its val/met polymorphism in human memory and hippocampal function and suggest val/met exerts these effects by impacting intracellular trafficking and activity-dependent secretion of BDNF.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
February/16/2006
Abstract
Mice experiencing repeated aggression develop a long-lasting aversion to social contact, which can be normalized by chronic, but not acute, administration of antidepressant. Using viral-mediated, mesolimbic dopamine pathway-specific knockdown of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), we showed that BDNF is required for the development of this experience-dependent social aversion. Gene profiling in the nucleus accumbens indicates that local knockdown of BDNF obliterates most of the effects of repeated aggression on gene expression within this circuit, with similar effects being produced by chronic treatment with antidepressant. These results establish an essential role for BDNF in mediating long-term neural and behavioral plasticity in response to aversive social experiences.
Publication
Journal: Nature genetics
January/22/2009
Abstract
Obesity results from the interaction of genetic and environmental factors. To search for sequence variants that affect variation in two common measures of obesity, weight and body mass index (BMI), both of which are highly heritable, we performed a genome-wide association (GWA) study with 305,846 SNPs typed in 25,344 Icelandic, 2,998 Dutch, 1,890 European Americans and 1,160 African American subjects and combined the results with previously published results from the Diabetes Genetics Initiative (DGI) on 3,024 Scandinavians. We selected 43 variants in 19 regions for follow-up in 5,586 Danish individuals and compared the results to a genome-wide study on obesity-related traits from the GIANT consortium. In total, 29 variants, some correlated, in 11 chromosomal regions reached a genome-wide significance threshold of P < 1.6 x 10(-7). This includes previously identified variants close to or in the FTO, MC4R, BDNF and SH2B1 genes, in addition to variants at seven loci not previously connected with obesity.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
December/7/2003
Abstract
In conjunction with histone modifications, DNA methylation plays critical roles in gene silencing through chromatin remodeling. Changes in DNA methylation perturb neuronal function, and mutations in a methyl-CpG-binding protein, MeCP2, are associated with Rett syndrome. We report that increased synthesis of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in neurons after depolarization correlates with a decrease in CpG methylation within the regulatory region of the Bdnf gene. Moreover, increased Bdnf transcription involves dissociation of the MeCP2-histone deacetylase-mSin3A repression complex from its promoter. Our findings suggest that DNA methylation-related chromatin remodeling is important for activity-dependent gene regulation that may be critical for neural plasticity.
Publication
Journal: Nature
January/10/2006
Abstract
Neuropathic pain that occurs after peripheral nerve injury depends on the hyperexcitability of neurons in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Spinal microglia stimulated by ATP contribute to tactile allodynia, a highly debilitating symptom of pain induced by nerve injury. Signalling between microglia and neurons is therefore an essential link in neuropathic pain transmission, but how this signalling occurs is unknown. Here we show that ATP-stimulated microglia cause a depolarizing shift in the anion reversal potential (E(anion)) in spinal lamina I neurons. This shift inverts the polarity of currents activated by GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid), as has been shown to occur after peripheral nerve injury. Applying brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mimics the alteration in E(anion). Blocking signalling between BDNF and the receptor TrkB reverses the allodynia and the E(anion) shift that follows both nerve injury and administration of ATP-stimulated microglia. ATP stimulation evokes the release of BDNF from microglia. Preventing BDNF release from microglia by pretreating them with interfering RNA directed against BDNF before ATP stimulation also inhibits the effects of these cells on the withdrawal threshold and E(anion). Our results show that ATP-stimulated microglia signal to lamina I neurons, causing a collapse of their transmembrane anion gradient, and that BDNF is a crucial signalling molecule between microglia and neurons. Blocking this microglia-neuron signalling pathway may represent a therapeutic strategy for treating neuropathic pain.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
December/30/2001
Abstract
Neurotrophins are growth factors that promote cell survival, differentiation, and cell death. They are synthesized as proforms that can be cleaved intracellularly to release mature, secreted ligands. Although proneurotrophins have been considered inactive precursors, we show here that the proforms of nerve growth factor (NGF) and the proforms of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are secreted and cleaved extracellularly by the serine protease plasmin and by selective matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). ProNGF is a high-affinity ligand for p75(NTR) with high affinity and induced p75NTR-dependent apoptosis in cultured neurons with minimal activation of TrkA-mediated differentiation or survival. The biological action of neurotrophins is thus regulated by proteolytic cleavage, with proforms preferentially activating p75NTR to mediate apoptosis and mature forms activating Trk receptors to promote survival.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
December/7/2003
Abstract
Mutations in MeCP2, which encodes a protein that has been proposed to function as a global transcriptional repressor, are the cause of Rett syndrome (RT T), an X-linked progressive neurological disorder. Although the selective inactivation of MeCP2 in neurons is sufficient to confer a Rett-like phenotype in mice, the specific functions of MeCP2 in postmitotic neurons are not known. We find that MeCP2 binds selectively to BDNF promoter III and functions to repress expression of the BDNF gene. Membrane depolarization triggers the calcium-dependent phosphorylation and release of MeCP2 from BDNF promoter III, thereby facilitating transcription. These studies indicate that MeCP2 plays a key role in the control of neuronal activity-dependent gene regulation and suggest that the deregulation of this process may underlie the pathology of RT T.
Publication
Journal: Nature genetics
July/18/1999
Abstract
A major goal in human genetics is to understand the role of common genetic variants in susceptibility to common diseases. This will require characterizing the nature of gene variation in human populations, assembling an extensive catalogue of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in candidate genes and performing association studies for particular diseases. At present, our knowledge of human gene variation remains rudimentary. Here we describe a systematic survey of SNPs in the coding regions of human genes. We identified SNPs in 106 genes relevant to cardiovascular disease, endocrinology and neuropsychiatry by screening an average of 114 independent alleles using 2 independent screening methods. To ensure high accuracy, all reported SNPs were confirmed by DNA sequencing. We identified 560 SNPs, including 392 coding-region SNPs (cSNPs) divided roughly equally between those causing synonymous and non-synonymous changes. We observed different rates of polymorphism among classes of sites within genes (non-coding, degenerate and non-degenerate) as well as between genes. The cSNPs most likely to influence disease, those that alter the amino acid sequence of the encoded protein, are found at a lower rate and with lower allele frequencies than silent substitutions. This likely reflects selection acting against deleterious alleles during human evolution. The lower allele frequency of missense cSNPs has implications for the compilation of a comprehensive catalogue, as well as for the subsequent application to disease association.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
October/17/2006
Abstract
A common single-nucleotide polymorphism in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene, a methionine (Met) substitution for valine (Val) at codon 66 (Val66Met), is associated with alterations in brain anatomy and memory, but its relevance to clinical disorders is unclear. We generated a variant BDNF mouse (BDNF(Met/Met)) that reproduces the phenotypic hallmarks in humans with the variant allele. BDNF(Met) was expressed in brain at normal levels, but its secretion from neurons was defective. When placed in stressful settings, BDNF(Met/Met) mice exhibited increased anxiety-related behaviors that were not normalized by the antidepressant, fluoxetine. A variant BDNF may thus play a key role in genetic predispositions to anxiety and depressive disorders.
Publication
Journal: Nature genetics
July/21/2008
Abstract
In an effort to pinpoint potential genetic risk factors for schizophrenia, research groups worldwide have published over 1,000 genetic association studies with largely inconsistent results. To facilitate the interpretation of these findings, we have created a regularly updated online database of all published genetic association studies for schizophrenia ('SzGene'). For all polymorphisms having genotype data available in at least four independent case-control samples, we systematically carried out random-effects meta-analyses using allelic contrasts. Across 118 meta-analyses, a total of 24 genetic variants in 16 different genes (APOE, COMT, DAO, DRD1, DRD2, DRD4, DTNBP1, GABRB2, GRIN2B, HP, IL1B, MTHFR, PLXNA2, SLC6A4, TP53 and TPH1) showed nominally significant effects with average summary odds ratios of approximately 1.23. Seven of these variants had not been previously meta-analyzed. According to recently proposed criteria for the assessment of cumulative evidence in genetic association studies, four of the significant results can be characterized as showing 'strong' epidemiological credibility. Our project represents the first comprehensive online resource for systematically synthesized and graded evidence of genetic association studies in schizophrenia. As such, it could serve as a model for field synopses of genetic associations in other common and genetically complex disorders.
Publication
Journal: Nature genetics
May/24/2004
Publication
Journal: Nature genetics
May/26/2010
Abstract
Consistent but indirect evidence has implicated genetic factors in smoking behavior. We report meta-analyses of several smoking phenotypes within cohorts of the Tobacco and Genetics Consortium (n = 74,053). We also partnered with the European Network of Genetic and Genomic Epidemiology (ENGAGE) and Oxford-GlaxoSmithKline (Ox-GSK) consortia to follow up the 15 most significant regions (n > 140,000). We identified three loci associated with number of cigarettes smoked per day. The strongest association was a synonymous 15q25 SNP in the nicotinic receptor gene CHRNA3 (rs1051730[A], beta = 1.03, standard error (s.e.) = 0.053, P = 2.8 x 10(-73)). Two 10q25 SNPs (rs1329650[G], beta = 0.367, s.e. = 0.059, P = 5.7 x 10(-10); and rs1028936[A], beta = 0.446, s.e. = 0.074, P = 1.3 x 10(-9)) and one 9q13 SNP in EGLN2 (rs3733829[G], beta = 0.333, s.e. = 0.058, P = 1.0 x 10(-8)) also exceeded genome-wide significance for cigarettes per day. For smoking initiation, eight SNPs exceeded genome-wide significance, with the strongest association at a nonsynonymous SNP in BDNF on chromosome 11 (rs6265[C], odds ratio (OR) = 1.06, 95% confidence interval (Cl) 1.04-1.08, P = 1.8 x 10(-8)). One SNP located near DBH on chromosome 9 (rs3025343[G], OR = 1.12, 95% Cl 1.08-1.18, P = 3.6 x 10(-8)) was significantly associated with smoking cessation.
Publication
Journal: Cell
October/14/1999
Abstract
Maturation of the visual cortex is influenced by visual experience during an early postnatal period. The factors that regulate such a critical period remain unclear. We examined the maturation and plasticity of the visual cortex in transgenic mice in which the postnatal rise of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was accelerated. In these mice, the maturation of GABAergic innervation and inhibition was accelerated. Furthermore, the age-dependent decline of cortical long-term potentiation induced by white matter stimulation, a form of synaptic plasticity sensitive to cortical inhibition, occurred earlier. Finally, transgenic mice showed a precocious development of visual acuity and an earlier termination of the critical period for ocular dominance plasticity. We propose that BDNF promotes the maturation of cortical inhibition during early postnatal life, thereby regulating the critical period for visual cortical plasticity.
Publication
Journal: Biological psychiatry
June/28/2009
Abstract
BACKGROUND
Childhood maltreatment and early trauma leave lasting imprints on neural mechanisms of cognition and emotion. With a rat model of infant maltreatment by a caregiver, we investigated whether early-life adversity leaves lasting epigenetic marks at the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene in the central nervous system.
METHODS
During the first postnatal week, we exposed infant rats to stressed caretakers that predominately displayed abusive behaviors. We then assessed DNA methylation patterns and gene expression throughout the life span as well as DNA methylation patterns in the next generation of infants.
RESULTS
Early maltreatment produced persisting changes in methylation of BDNF DNA that caused altered BDNF gene expression in the adult prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, we observed altered BDNF DNA methylation in offspring of females that had previously experienced the maltreatment regimen.
CONCLUSIONS
These results highlight an epigenetic molecular mechanism potentially underlying lifelong and transgenerational perpetuation of changes in gene expression and behavior incited by early abuse and neglect.
Publication
Journal: Cell
June/26/2005
Abstract
Regulation of neuronal gene expression is critical to central nervous system development. Here, we show that REST regulates the transitions from pluripotent to neural stem/progenitor cell and from progenitor to mature neuron. In the transition to progenitor cell, REST is degraded to levels just sufficient to maintain neuronal gene chromatin in an inactive state that is nonetheless poised for expression. As progenitors differentiate into neurons, REST and its co-repressors dissociate from the RE1 site, triggering activation of neuronal genes. In some genes, the level of expression is adjusted further in neurons by CoREST/MeCP2 repressor complexes that remain bound to a site of methylated DNA distinct from the RE1 site. Expression profiling based on this mechanism indicates that REST defines a gene set subject to plasticity in mature neurons. Thus, a multistage repressor mechanism controls the orderly expression of genes during development while still permitting fine tuning in response to specific stimuli.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
July/25/2001
Abstract
Huntingtin is a 350-kilodalton protein of unknown function that is mutated in Huntington's disease (HD), a neurodegenerative disorder. The mutant protein is presumed to acquire a toxic gain of function that is detrimental to striatal neurons in the brain. However, loss of a beneficial activity of wild-type huntingtin may also cause the death of striatal neurons. Here we demonstrate that wild-type huntingtin up-regulates transcription of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a pro-survival factor produced by cortical neurons that is necessary for survival of striatal neurons in the brain. We show that this beneficial activity of huntingtin is lost when the protein becomes mutated, resulting in decreased production of cortical BDNF. This leads to insufficient neurotrophic support for striatal neurons, which then die. Restoring wild-type huntingtin activity and increasing BDNF production may be therapeutic approaches for treating HD.
Publication
Journal: Cell
August/2/2004
Abstract
Polyglutamine expansion (polyQ) in the protein huntingtin is pathogenic and responsible for the neuronal toxicity associated with Huntington's disease (HD). Although wild-type huntingtin possesses antiapoptotic properties, the relationship between the neuroprotective functions of huntingtin and pathogenesis of HD remains unclear. Here, we show that huntingtin specifically enhances vesicular transport of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) along microtubules. Huntingtin-mediated transport involves huntingtin-associated protein-1 (HAP1) and the p150(Glued) subunit of dynactin, an essential component of molecular motors. BDNF transport is attenuated both in the disease context and by reducing the levels of wild-type huntingtin. The alteration of the huntingtin/HAP1/p150(Glued) complex correlates with reduced association of motor proteins with microtubules. Finally, we find that the polyQ-huntingtin-induced transport deficit results in the loss of neurotrophic support and neuronal toxicity. Our findings indicate that a key role of huntingtin is to promote BDNF transport and suggest that loss of this function might contribute to pathogenesis.
Publication
Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
October/22/1995
Abstract
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a member of the nerve growth factor (NGF) gene family, has been shown to influence the survival and differentiation of specific classes of neurons in vitro and in vivo. The possibility that neurotrophins are also involved in processes of neuronal plasticity has only recently begun to receive attention. To determine whether BDNF has a function in processes such as long-term potentiation (LTP), we produced a strain of mice with a deletion in the coding sequence of the BDNF gene. We then used hippocampal slices from these mice to investigate whether LTP was affected by this mutation. Homo- and heterozygous mutant mice showed significantly reduced LTP in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. The magnitude of the potentiation, as well as the percentage of cases in which LTP could be induced successfully, was clearly affected. According to the criteria tested, important pharmacological, anatomical, and morphological parameters in the hippocampus of these animals appear to be normal. These results suggest that BDNF might have a functional role in the expression of LTP in the hippocampus.
Publication
Journal: Neuron
August/1/1996
Abstract
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is expressed at high levels in hippocampal neurons, and its expression is modulated by neural activity. Knockout mice can be used to study the roles of molecules like BDNF in synaptic plasticity with more molecular specificity than is possible using pharmacological approaches. Because in conventional knockouts the disrupted gene product is absent in all tissues throughout the life of the animal, developmental effects may complicate the interpretation of deficits in the adult. Rescue experiments can help to distinguish between developmental and acute requirements for the missing gene product. We here demonstrate that treatment of hippocampal slices from BDNF knockout mice with recombinant BDNF completely reverses deficits in long-term potentiation and significantly improves deficits in basal synaptic transmission at the Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapse. Thus, BDNF has an acute role in hippocampal synaptic function.
Publication
Journal: The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
September/2/2003
Abstract
BDNF plays a critical role in activity-dependent neuroplasticity underlying learning and memory in the hippocampus. A frequent single nucleotide polymorphism in the targeting region of the human BDNF gene (val66met) has been associated with abnormal intracellular trafficking and regulated secretion of BDNF in cultured hippocampal neurons transfected with the met allele. In addition, the met allele has been associated with abnormal hippocampal neuronal function as well as impaired episodic memory in human subjects, but a direct effect of BDNF alleles on hippocampal processing of memory has not been demonstrated. We studied the relationship of the BDNF val66met genotype and hippocampal activity during episodic memory processing using blood oxygenation level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging and a declarative memory task in healthy individuals. Met carriers exhibited relatively diminished hippocampal engagement in comparison with val homozygotes during both encoding and retrieval processes. Remarkably, the interaction between the BDNF val66met genotype and the hippocampal response during encoding accounted for 25% of the total variation in recognition memory performance. These data implicate a specific genetic mechanism for substantial normal variation in human declarative memory and suggest that the basic effects of BDNF signaling on hippocampal function in experimental animals are important in humans.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
November/5/2004
Abstract
Long-term memory is thought to be mediated by protein synthesis-dependent, late-phase long-term potentiation (L-LTP). Two secretory proteins, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), have been implicated in this process, but their relationship is unclear. Here we report that tPA, by activating the extracellular protease plasmin, converts the precursor proBDNF to the mature BDNF (mBDNF), and that such conversion is critical for L-LTP expression in mouse hippocampus. Moreover, application of mBDNF is sufficient to rescue L-LTP when protein synthesis is inhibited, which suggests that mBDNF is a key protein synthesis product for L-LTP expression.
Publication
Journal: Nature
February/21/2001
Abstract
The precise hierarchy of ancient divergence events that led to the present assemblage of modern placental mammals has been an area of controversy among morphologists, palaeontologists and molecular evolutionists. Here we address the potential weaknesses of limited character and taxon sampling in a comprehensive molecular phylogenetic analysis of 64 species sampled across all extant orders of placental mammals. We examined sequence variation in 18 homologous gene segments (including nearly 10,000 base pairs) that were selected for maximal phylogenetic informativeness in resolving the hierarchy of early mammalian divergence. Phylogenetic analyses identify four primary superordinal clades: (I) Afrotheria (elephants, manatees, hyraxes, tenrecs, aardvark and elephant shrews); (II) Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters and armadillos); (III) Glires (rodents and lagomorphs), as a sister taxon to primates, flying lemurs and tree shrews; and (IV) the remaining orders of placental mammals (cetaceans, artiodactyls, perissodactyls, carnivores, pangolins, bats and core insectivores). Our results provide new insight into the pattern of the early placental mammal radiation.
Publication
Journal: Cell
February/25/2014
Abstract
Microglia are the resident macrophages of the CNS, and their functions have been extensively studied in various brain pathologies. The physiological roles of microglia in brain plasticity and function, however, remain unclear. To address this question, we generated CX3CR1(CreER) mice expressing tamoxifen-inducible Cre recombinase that allow for specific manipulation of gene function in microglia. Using CX3CR1(CreER) to drive diphtheria toxin receptor expression in microglia, we found that microglia could be specifically depleted from the brain upon diphtheria toxin administration. Mice depleted of microglia showed deficits in multiple learning tasks and a significant reduction in motor-learning-dependent synapse formation. Furthermore, Cre-dependent removal of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) from microglia largely recapitulated the effects of microglia depletion. Microglial BDNF increases neuronal tropomyosin-related kinase receptor B phosphorylation, a key mediator of synaptic plasticity. Together, our findings reveal that microglia serve important physiological functions in learning and memory by promoting learning-related synapse formation through BDNF signaling.
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